By Rick Harvey, American Red Cross
A trail of water followed Jeff Tatro every step he made during a visit to the Multi-Agency Resource Center (MARC), which opened Tuesday at First United Methodist Church in Conway, S.C.
With wet, sloshing shoes and soggy pants up to his knees, Tatro, his wife, Heidi, and sons Lucas, 15, and Cyrus, 13, made the short trip from the flooded Savannah Bluffs neighborhood in Conway to meet with American Red Cross caseworkers, get cleaning supplies, and receive referrals for other area agencies.
“The Red Cross has been great,” Tatro said.
The MARC in Conway is one of five “one-stop shops” across the Palmetto State for residents affected by flooding. The Red Cross has caseworkers, health services and disaster assessment personnel at each site ready to help residents one-on-one as they begin the steps to long-term recovery.
“We’re lucky,” Tatro said. “Some people lost everything. We lost things, but not like some.”
The family had only been residing in their home for three weeks when the torrential rains began, Tatro said. His wife and sons fled to a Myrtle Beach motel ahead of the storm, but Tatro has remained in the soggy, moldy conditions of his home to help fend off any potential looters.
“We were warned,” Tatro said. “They said it was going to get serious, but I was like ‘yeah, right’. The first night I moved my truck to higher ground and the next morning it was too deep to drive. The water went up two feet the first night.”
Tatro said high waters first seeped inside October 4, quickly saturating carpets.
“The carpets, couches and beds are ruined and mold is creeping up,” he said. “And our son, Lucas, has asthma.”
Flood waters, which reached approximately five feet at its peak, have gone down substantially, although Tatro says it’s still too deep to drive in his drive-way. He’s been in constant contact with his landlord and will use the assistance and recovery tools his family got from the Red Cross to help the process of returning things to normal as soon as possible.
But until then – and until the final two feet of high water totally recedes - he’ll continue to slosh his way down his drive-way inside his home, leaving the trail of small puddles along the way.
“Our mobile home is up on blocks,” he said. “It’s up high, which is good, but we learned it’s not high enough.”